Once in a slumber, Syracuse basketball’s bench begins to emerge

Quincy Guerrier Boston College
Syracuse Orange forward Quincy Guerrier (1) speaks to an official at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Now that the students are back on campus, it was a good time to build a little momentum by beating a just-as-erratic Boston College team Wednesday night.

The Eagles, who also toppled Virginia last week, could not get anything going at the Dome to fall decisively to the Orange. Both teams are now 3-3 in an equally up-and-down ACC.

SU, on Buddy Boeheim’s 15 first-half points, handedly outscored Boston College en route to a 25-point cushion. As a result, Howard Washington, Quincy Guerrier and Jesse Edwards saw the court in the game’s first 20 minutes. Brycen Goodine, who is wearing a mask for a broken nose suffered in a recent practice, played in the second half to show flashes of potential.

“We are getting better but we’re not where we need to be,” the coach said following his team’s much-needed league victory in the Dome.

Once the Orange broke free from the Eagles in the dreadful, low-scoring first 12 minutes, the coach felt comfortable experimenting with on-court chemistry to determine who could be a contributing rotational player down the stretch when every victory…or slip-up…is magnified.

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He singled out Washington, the junior point guard who has played sparingly due to injuries and medical reasons. Washington looked comfortable running the offense and finished with three assists in just over 13 minutes of action.

“I thought it was a good opportunity for Howard to get something done,” the coach said.

If Washington play continues to improve, that will allow Boeheim to give starting point guard Joe Girard III a much-needed breather when games are close. That goes with Goodine, as well. In just five minutes in the second half, the freshman showed glimpses of things to come.

“He is building confidence day by day,” admitted Boeheim, his teammate. “It’s a process and every game is a new opportunity.”

While Elijah Hughes and dependable Marek Dolezaj have played important roles in the front court, the coach would like to see—in fact, he is challenging first-year players Quincy Guerrier and Jesse Edwards to help out.

“He has to help us more,” he said about Guerrier, who has a lot of energy but misses on consistency. In 21 minutes, he finished with four points and five boards.

Dolezaj, who was slowed earlier this season after last summer’s hand injury, is making a statement every time he hits the court, finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

“He works hard and makes plays. He does the little things for us,” the coach said.

SU will need more of the same if it wants to challenge in the ACC and beyond.

So, after dropping close games to Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, after two straight wins, the Orange are positioned to pay back the Irish and the Hokies.

“We are one or two plays from winning those games,” Buddy Boeheim said. “We have to build off these last two wins and get better every day.”

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About John Zych 28 Articles
John is an active freelance writer, photographer and editor. His credits include being an official photographer at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York Ms. Orange Fan Luncheon and regularly contributing to SU Athletics.com and Eagle Newspapers. Prior to that, he was the managing Editor and journalist for several community newspaper groups from 1985-1997 including the Oneida Dispatch, Eagle Newspapers and Taconic Media (Millbrook, NY).